Political and Legal information on the Health Care Debate. View our freshly updated You Tube videos about health care on the right hand side of this blog. Includes ideas from politicians concerning Universal Health Care. Information on all things health insurance related from Medicare to short term health insurance.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dennis Kucinich on Universal Health Care

While I disagree with a lot of what Kucinich says on the social political stage, I pretty much agree with where he stands on the debate on Universal Health Care for all Americans. He states that it should be done with a "Medicare for all" system through non-profit insurers administrating it. Kucinich believes that Health Care is a right and not a privilege which is where this writer disagrees with his premise.

However if Universal Health Care were to become a reality, the non-profit model would be the best blend between the government system and corporate system that we currently have. Kucinich points out that there are many places in our health care system where money is lost without giving any health care benefit. One of the big areas is the insurance companies. The profit that is built into the health care system is a large amount of our health care dollar that could be used to reduce costs and improve the system. Kucinich claims that 31% of health care dollars go to insurance company profits.

Insurance companies pay a lot of health care dollars in advertising and marketing so that their competitor does not get the profit that they want. The advertising and competition in this case does not grant a more efficient system because the insurance companies do not add value to the health care experience. Insurance companies merely provide a service through which health care dollars are distributed for services.

Insurance companies can make more or less money through negotiations with the health care providers such as doctors or hospitals. They do not have to make money by raising premiums, but they can raise rates without blame because they will just say that "the rising cost of health care" made them raise the premiums. The insurance companies will never say "we want more profit so we are raising rates", even though that is a primary motivation they consider when setting rates.

A non-profit system would take the profit incentive out of the system. There would be no share holders to demand profit, there would be no board members or executives with expensive contracts. There would be operating expenses and costs, but no extra profit. Our country has had a non-profit model that people know as the "Blue Cross Blue Shield" system. Across the country and one by one, these companies have been abandoning their non-profit mission so that they could squeeze more money out of the system. As a non-profit, Blue Cross has served the country well through quality plans at affordable prices. Over the last 10 years, many states have decided to allow Blue Cross to convert to for profit which goes against their mission.

A non-profit system would allow the insurance company a competitive edge in that they would not have to pay taxes. The HSA system that congress approved was designed to address health care costs through tax breaks. The non-profit system is a tax break across the board from a company with government regulation.

Back to Kucinich on health care. He believes that we can expand medicare for everyone. I think that is a great idea because I know that medicare is a fantastic vehicle for providing health care. I look forward to the day that I can get on medicare because I'll have better coverage than I do now and it will cost me much less. However I do not know how the system could handle so many more people on it, or how much it would cost. Cost is the major factor when considering new plans. Availability and access to care is the second biggest factor.

Of all the plans available, I believe that Kucinich's plan of using the non-profit model which brings Medicare for everyone under a single payer system is the best. This is only a part of the health care model that would be necessary for a government based system, but this would be the big part. A non-profit system would ensure that more dollars go toward health care. Once that system is in place, the second vampire of the health care dollar is the prescription drug companies. I will address the role of the prescription drug companies to the health care dollar in a later post.

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